Thomm Quackenbush, author

Growing Up Like Me

I have been told that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that the children in my life want nothing more than to be like me, to do the things that I do, to have experiences similar to mine.

There is always this moment of blank staring, of absolute incredulous misunderstanding when these kinds of conversation arise. I acknowledge that, for children, they want whatever is there in the moment, whatever is present and whatever is appealing. Their mindfulness, while intense, is short lived and I should not take too seriously their moment-to-moment whims of being like whichever adult happens to be in the room at that moment.

I do not want them to be like me. The children in my life will have their own pain, it's true, and I will walk with them as they live in the world, but I hope more than anything that they do not live like I choose to. I would never want someone else to feel the craziness inside of me, to feel the rushing water in their ears and the starburst behind my eyes. I want the children to be honest, open, connected. I want them nourished and whole not experiencing moments through pinpricks of light and pinpricks of dark.

Somewhere in my belly exists this potential. An untapped resource that burns dully in the dark. I know it is there, I know it is available and I cannot reach it right now. I ground, center, shield, expand and expose and feel it trying to crawl out and become stuck until the only solution is retreat, and retreat I will. (Again.)

This needs to be over, I keep saying, needs to be brighter, needs to be lighter, needs to be more honest. All of these things that I think need to happen and when they don't, there comes the blame, the questions of why I can't get my head back, the questions of why I'm not living the life I thought I was supposed to... The life with the split-level home in the suburbs, the life with the dog and the child, the sub-zero freezer and electric range. Brookstone catalogues and 9-5 jobs. I know that there is beauty in what I do, what I am, in the rituals I create or try to create but the freakier I get, the more "me" that I become, the more I realise that I will probably not have that life. My life will be different and that it is becoming time, more and more, to figure out where and what that means.

There were, recently a couple of days of light. A couple of days where I remembered what it felt like to be me, to have connection and passion and to wipe the tears of the crying trees. Still, this always returns... my owl at my side, we descend again.

I think it's like the ocean, always giving and taking away.


Emily is a strong woman fighting against her body and soul to earn her wings. She is or has been a nationally ranked blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, a two time inducteee to the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, an animal control officer, a graduate student, and a groovy person.


Stars in the Daytime
Stars in the Daytime


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